February 22, 2002
He was trying to talk to her again. His speech was awkward and stilted. She could tell that just asking her the question was incredibly difficult for him. “Have you gone down to any of the houses?” She shook her head and responded, “Nope. I haven’t done anything. I really should get down there before everything is gone.” She left it open for him. He could ask her to go downtown with him. Come on, fella, you can do it.
“You should really go down there. The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” She sighed, disappointed. “I know. I’d really like to share that experience with someone.” He let a few awkward seconds pass before he just turned around and left her cubicle. At this rate, just dating is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him.
Later that evening, she looked around her immaculately clean apartment. She fired up her computer and went online. Every time she downloaded her email, she cursed the day that she put her information on the dating service. She hadn’t received one email from a normal man. Every one of them was either a pervert or a freak. She sifted through her inbox: pervert, spam, perverted spam, freak, freak, perv. When it was clean, she started to surf. His quiet and reserved voice stuttered in her head, “The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” She logged off.
She felt like a tourist in her own city. All the boring office buildings that sat nestled between the mountains were covered with huge murals of Olympic Events. She couldn’t even drive to where she normally parked when she went downtown because there was an entire section of her city quarantined off. She parked and shuttled to the various houses representing the different teams. Free beer. That was a phrase she had never heard in her beloved city, but she was driving. No beer for her.
She clicked pictures galore. The rings on the mountain, every mural on the buildings, and she even clicked a picture of that famous singer in that band that was performing that night. She didn’t actually see the performance. She just took a picture of one of the many televisions broadcasting all the events. Despite all of the gaiety, she was still alone, and worse, she could feel it. Worse still, not one person around her noticed.
February 22, 2003
“Don’t you wish it was all happening again?” She was very confused. Sometimes he was so nervous around her that he would say weird things. He pointed at the old Olympics poster in an effort to clarify, “Don’t you wish that we could rewind and do the Olympics all over again?” The wave of loneliness washed over again, “God, no! I ended up going downtown alone to see everything. It was horrible.”
He just stood there bobbing his head. She could tell that she had said the wrong thing and he had no premeditated response. She picked up the silence, “It would have been so much better if I had gone down there with someone I knew.” She left it open for him. Come on, fella, you can do it. He fidgeted and touched his face. “Hey, you think you’d like to go to coffee sometime?” She smiled, “Yeah, that would be nice.”